Billy Graham – Part 2

Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000ed
By Iain H. Murray
The Banner of Truth Trust, 2000, 342 pages

For part one of this post, please see here.

German higher biblical criticism came to the US in the 19th-century and was a swift-spreading cancer in seminaries and mainline Protestant churches. Believing churchmen drew a line in the sand with a series of 90 essays on the basics of the Christian faith, published between 1910 and 1915, and known as “The Fundamentals: A Testimony To The Truth.” Bible Christians rallied around the cherished doctrinal truths but, as mainline liberalism gained wider support, the fundamentalist movement increasingly adopted a bunker, circle-the-wagons mentality.

Billy Graham began his ministry as a fundamentalist, but he and other evangelicals recognized that fundamentalism took the opposite approach to Jesus’s admonition to be in the world, but not of the world. Graham and friends (Carl Henry, Harold Ockenga, Edward Carnell, et al.) reasoned they could more effectively reach souls for Christ by cooperating with mainline liberals and unbelievers rather than by separating from them. But just as fundamentalism had its unhealthy sectarian extremism, Graham’s “New Evangelicalism” had its own pitfall. Cooperation works both ways and Graham’s cooperation with unorthodoxy and unbelief led to accommodation, compromise, and eventually, betrayal of the Gospel. Graham sacrificed right doctrine on the altar of numbers, popularity, and ecclesiastical respectability and set a precedent for generations of pastors and para-church leaders to come.

In “Evangelicalism Divided,” Iain Murray, a former close associate of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, documents the rise and fall of Graham and New Evangelicalism. The larger portion of the book is devoted to circumstances in England, which closely mirrored those in the United States. Swimming against the rising tide, Lloyd-Jones called upon evangelicals to break ties with mainline liberalism and unbelief. In opposition to Lloyd-Jones, England’s New Evangelicals, led by John Stott and J. I Packer, rationalized that believers would be far more effective if they worked within the Anglican church. Not surprisingly, Packer would go on to be one of the charter signers of the ECT – Evangelicals and Catholics Togther – ecumenical accords. As for the current state of Anglicanism, is there even one Bible-believing minister within the entire denomination?

Murray may wander a bit but overall this is an excellent book. There were so many passages I wanted to quote, but where to stop? I would have ended up quoting half the book. For everyone who wonders HOW and WHY Graham and company ended up eventually betraying the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, this book is a sad but necessary eye-opener.

“The reason why the BGEA (Billy Graham Evangelistic Association) decided to co-operate with liberals and other non-evangelicals (such as Roman Catholics – Tom) was never set out in terms of principle. The fact is that the policy was seen as a neccessary expedient designed sincerely for the best end, namely to gain a wider hearing for the gospel. Crusades depended on crowds and in the Graham story there is an almost ever-present concern for maintaining and increasing numbers. ‘Keeping an eye for maximum public impact’ and ‘trying always for the largest possible crowds’ was a settled part of the Billy Graham Association’s strategy.” pp- 58-59.

“We may be small in numbers but since when has the doctrine of the remnant become unpopular among evangelicals? It is one of the most glorious doctrines in the whole Bible. We are not interested in numbers. We are interested in truth and in the living God. ‘If God be for us, who can be against us?’ …If we stand for God’s truth we can be sure that God will honour us and bless us.” – a quote from D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, p.293.

See more reviews of “Evangelicalism Divided” here. My thanks to Pastor Jim for providing the link.

18 thoughts on “Billy Graham – Part 2

  1. As a new Christian, I bought some Christian books from a church sale in order to review them. When I read Billy Grahams book , I knew he didn’t have the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
    Later, as I learned a bit about Southern Baptist theology, of which Graham is part and parcel, I realized the SBC doesn’t properly teach about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, nor do they teach about the supernatural gifts of the spirit.
    That goes to show just how deceptive man made doctrines and traditions of men can be so deceptive and wrong. This deprives God’s children of the blessings and power the Lord Jesus sent the Holy Spirit for, to empower His Body. What a shame.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Scarlett, Thanks for the comments but I don’t believe in the apostolic gifts for today, so I would be a cessationist. The Catholic church states that it’s charismatic renewal movement has 160 million members. But these people uphold their church’s gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit so what of that? Pentecostals and charismatics are forced to accept Catholic charsimatics who are faithful to their church’s unbiblical teachings as Christians because they demonstrate the requisite gifts of the spirit. But let’s agree to disagree on this issue. You’re my sister in Christ because we have both accepted Jesus as our Savior through faith alone. No need for us to make this secondary difference an opportunity for discord. I hope you feel the same way.


      1. Tom, the majority of Christians don’t believe in the Baptism and infilling of the Holy Spirit, so that I suppose is no surprise to me, although most I would say don’t call themselves by the name – cessationist. Christians believe, as well as disbelieve a lot of things, but as for me, I can’t deny or negate the precious gift, (s) given to me with the very evidence of it’s validity, both in practice, and in the fact that it’s clearly verified by scripture in many various places. This is your blog and I respect that so I will not debate the issue here, but do feel prompted to soon make some posts regarding the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the reasons why Christians don’t understand or receive it. Yes, although we disagree on this issue, you are my brother in the Lord.
        Love in Jesus,

      2. Tom, I read the article. The duplicitous maneuverings of the Pope are nothing new. However, true evangelical spirit filled Christians will not be deceived by this ploy. Those who are deceived are not walking perfectly according to Jesus commandments. As for the Pope, the Lord Jesus said we would know them by their fruits.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The pope is using these Pentecostals and charismatics as a Trojan horse/fifth column in his ecumenical plan for evangelicals. How is it that 160 million Catholic charismatics including thousands of priests can uphold a false gospel of sacramental grace and merit but still speak in tongues, etc.? None of it is of the Holy Spirit. The great bridgehead for evangelical-Catholic “reunion” has been the Pentecostal-charismatic movement.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I first learnt of Billy Graham’s shameful compromise with Rome 10 years ago. The Billy Graham Evang. Association published a special “Crusade edition” of Halley’s Bible handbook and removed his documentations of the evils of the popes and massacre of Christians in the Middle Ages. That Billy is still being revered as a celebrity shows the danger of placing a man on a pedestal.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Victor. Yes, I’ve heard of that Halley’s issue. Par for the course. Even doctrinally sound evangelicals reverence Graham because they’re not aware of the extent of his betrayal.


      1. “because of kidney stone issues, which helped.” Oh wow! Never heard anyone ever say kidney stone “helped” for something before, that’s a first. How are you doing???

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thanks, Jim. Doing good. I had bad kidney stone pain for about a week straight back in August. I finally passed that small stone then signed up for procedure to have two big ol’ stones smashed, which I had put off for a couple of years. So another week of pain. I have to be the dumbest guy in the world for signing up for that procedure so soon after just going through a bout in August. Thanks for asking! We really lean on the Lord when we’re not full of our own selves.

        Liked by 1 person

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